Syrian Forces Continue Crackdown, Kill 62

Syrian soldiers used violence anew on Friday, killing more than 60 people across the Arab Republic as protesters continued to defy embattled President Bashar al-Assad.

Human rights group Sawasiah and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights both put Friday’s death toll at 62. Many of the casualties, around 19, were from the city of Deraa, where the month-long calls for al-Assad’s ouster began. Casualties were also reported in Rustun, Latakia, Homs, and the town of Qadam, as support for protesters continue to spread across the country. A source reportedly told Reuters that soldiers opened fire on protesters in Deraa, where people from nearby villages have assembled in a show of defiance to al-Assad’s use of violent force.

Friday’s bloodshed coincided with U.S. President Barack Obama’s approval of new sanctions against key Syrian officials, who included a brother of President Assad in charge of the army division that attacked Deraa. Also included in the new sanctions is Syria’s intelligence agency. Also on Friday, the European Union moved closer to a formal sanction after diplomats reportedly agreed on a draft to impose an arms embargo on Syria.